Floyd Collins (musical)

Floyd Collins is a musical based on the death of Floyd Collins near Cave City, Kentucky in the winter of 1925. The book is by Tina Landau; the music by Adam Guettel and the lyrics by Adam Guettel and Tina Landau.

Plot summary

Floyd Collins, exploring Sand Cave, uses the echoes of his voice to sound out the region, and falls through a tight passageway when his foot became trapped, wedged in position by a small rock. His family and his fellow cavers try to free him; when it become clear that his rescue will not be easy, his brother Homer spends the night in the cave with him. William Burke "Skeets" Miller, a small man, is able to squeeze through and visit with Floyd, relaying stories which were printed in the news. Despite efforts by miners, the National Guard and the Red Cross, attempts at rescue fail, and the crowd grows outside the cave as a media circus ensues.

Seventeen days after Floyd had entered the cave, a shaft finally reaches him. He had died three days earlier.

The play's music takes its themes from bluegrass and Americana.


As originally written in 1994, the character list included Floyd Collins, Homer Collins, Nellie Collins, and Johnnie Gerald; as rewritten the role of Johnnie Gerald was merged with that of Homer Collins. As currently performed, the roles include Bee Doyle, Dr Hazlett, two reporters, a Con Man, Lee Collins, Homer Collins, Floyd Collins, Clif Rony, Jewlle Estes, Nellie Collins, Skeets Miller, Miss Jane, H. T. Carmichael and Ed Bishop. Floyd Collins opened in New York at Playwrights Horizons in 1996. winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, and the 1995-1996 OBIE Award for its score; a cast recording was released on Nonesuch in 1997.

The show toured the United States and made its London debut at the Bridewell Theatre in 1999, with Nigel Richards as Floyd, Anna Francolini as Nellie and Craig Parnell as Homer. The production was directed by Clive Paget.

The finale song is the title track of Audra McDonald's 2000 album How Glory Goes, and was also included on Brian Stokes Mitchell's 2006 self-titled album.


Act I

  • Ballad of Floyd Collins - Company
  • The Call - Floyd
  • It Moves - Floyd
  • Time to Go - Floyd
  • Lucky – Nellie and Miss Jane
  • 'Tween a Rock An' a Hard Place (replaced by "Where a Man Belongs" in 1999) – Family and locals
  • Daybreak – Homer and Floyd
  • I Landed on Him – Skeets Miller
  • Heart An' Hand - Miss Jane and Lee
  • Riddle Song – Homer and Floyd

  • Is That Remarkable? – reporters and company
  • Carnival – Floyd and company
  • Through the Mountain - Nellie
  • Git Comfortable - Homer
  • Ballad of Floyd Collins (reprise) - Jewell
  • The Dream - Floyd, Nellie, Homer and company
  • How Glory Goes - Floyd


Jason Danieley and Romain Frugé, who appeared together in the musical, The Full Monty have both appeared in productions of Floyd Collins.

See also

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